December 14th, 2016 – Yesterday, the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship made an announcement intended to make meaningful changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program for workers, employers and the Canadian economy. There are three key changes:
- The four-year cumulative duration rule will no longer apply to lower skilled temporary foreign workers effective immediately.The cumulative duration rule, known as the “four-in, four-out” rule, was put in place in April of 2011, limiting work for some temporary foreign workers in Canada to four years who then became ineligible to work in Canada for the next four years.
- Low-wage employers, where appropriate, will be required to advertise their positions targeting more than one, and up to four, under-represented groups in the work force such as youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and newcomers. No implementation date for this change was announced.
- The cap on the proportion of low-wage temporary foreign workers that can be employed at a given worksite at 20% will be maintained for employers who accessed the Program prior to June 20, 2014, and at 10% for new users of the Program after that date. The exemption on the cap for seasonal industries seeking temporary foreign workers for up to 180 days during the 2017 calendar year will be extended until December 31, 2017.
In addition to these changes, the Government confirmed its commitment to developing pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers who currently are not on a path to permanent status.